In last year’s Cox Plate, Adelaide gelding Happy Trails was beaten 6 1/2 lengths in 10th place.
But that hasn’t hampered the ambitions of trainer Paul Beshara who will again set his stable star on a spring path geared towards the $3 million weight-for-age feature.
In fact, Beshara will follow the exact spring schedule he employed last year, beginning with the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1200m) at his home Morphetville track on August 10.
From there the rising six-year-old will contest the Group 1 Memsie Stakes, the Group 2 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes, the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes and the Group 1 Cox Plate.
Beshara suggested there is a possibility the Good Journey gelding will defend his title in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes on the final day of the Melbourne Cup carnival but said that will be determined by what weight he is allocated.
“Maybe [he’ll go to] the Emirates again, but that’ll depend on his weight,” Beshara told Racing Victoria.
Happy Trails has been back in work for two weeks after a four-start Sydney autumn campaign that was highlighted by a third-place finish in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
“He’s just doing some slow work and a bit of pace work at the moment but next week I’ll hit him up with a bit of evens and as he comes to hand we’ll take him to the next stage,” Beshara said.
Bought for just $11,000 at the Magic Millions Adelaide Yearling Sale in 2009, the Group 1 winner is the horse Beshara has waited many years for.
Already his earnings have dwarfed his price tag, with five wins and 12 minor placings from 33 starts resulting in $1.23 million in prizemoney.
After riding him to victory in the Group 2 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes last year, champion jockey Glen Boss suggested Happy Trails wasn’t a Cox Plate horse.
Beshara didn’t listen then and he won’t be listening to any doubters this year as he again chases glory in his dream race with his dream horse.